The Economist: Academia ranked last as source of innovative ideas and my thoughts on startups vs grant moneyJanuary 8th, 2009 by jose
The Economist has a special report on innovation. Their report is spearheaded by a bar graph (sorry, cannot link to it and cannot repost here due to copyright laws) showing results from IBM (The global CEO study 2006), based on interviews with 765 CEOs. The graph shows that the last two sources of innovation are the academia and the R&D departments of corporations (!). The top sources of new ideas according to that study are employees, business partners, and customers. These data helps explain the current craze about start-ups. R&D departments within companies, and labs within universities are expensive. The latter has the excuse that you could have been doing basic research all this time and that is why nothing you produced was of any use for innovation… But still. Startups can have access to the three top sources of innovative ideas (employees, business partners and customers) on the cheap. No wonder there are so many of these popping out.
We have posted before on how academics are not ‘in it’ for the money. If anyone has doubts, just (re)read Phillip Greenspun fantastic essay ‘women in science’. But then there must be something ‘romantic’ about doing science.